Running even a modest sports program can cost a significant amount of money. This is because it will likely incur a number of expenses such as renting or buying space to practice and play games or buying uniforms and other equipment. The program may also incur travel expenses as well as incur costs related to paying coaches, vendors and others who are affiliated with the team. Fortunately, there are many strategies that you can use to raise funds in a timely manner.
Host a Silent Auction
Silent auctions are an effective and profitable way to raise funds because they can be held at any time and with minimal overhead. In most cases, the items that are auctioned off are donated by members of the community or by local businesses. The process of taking bids may require little more than asking people to write numbers on a piece of paper. Alternatively, you can create a website or social media account where people can post their bids to an online forum.
Those who participate in a silent auction know that the funds are going to a cause that they support, which means that they will likely pay more than an item’s retail value. For instance, they may pay $100 for a pair of tickets to a minor league baseball game that might retail for $50 at the box office. Therefore, almost anything that is donated or gifted to the event has the potential to raise significant funds for your team. Furthermore, if the team is a registered 501(c)(3) entity, participants may be entitled to deduct the purchase price from their taxable income.
Seek Out Sponsorships
Sponsorships are another easy and profitable way to make money for your team. Obtaining a sponsorship may be as easy as spending a few minutes talking with a company’s community outreach team or speaking with a wealthy member of the community. If you are going to ask an individual to sponsor your team, look for someone who has a connection to your sport or to the area where the team plays.
For instance, if a former professional football player lives in your area, he might be interested in sponsoring your youth football organization. You may also be successful with someone who has no connection to the sports world but wants to provide local kids a chance to play a sport and learn the skills that come with doing so.
Another potential benefit to seeking sponsors is that you can have more than one at the same time. In addition, you can have a combination of long and short-term deals that may be better suited to your organization’s needs. For instance, you could agree to sell the naming rights to the stadium where the team plays to the same company for 50 years and sell the rights to a jersey patch to multiple parties on a rotating yearly basis.
A final benefit to obtaining sponsors is that you know exactly how much you are getting ahead of time. For example, you could ask for $10,000 for the right to name your stadium or $500 to put your company’s logo on the team jersey.
Memberships are similar to sponsorships in that they allow you to determine how much you will make ahead of time. However, the key difference is that a membership generally doesn’t give someone the right to put their name on the stadium or on other prominent locations. Instead, perks generally include discounts on tickets, food or merchandise. You might also give members an ability to purchase tickets before they are offered to the general public or the right to attend events that aren’t open to the public.
Engage in Passive Collection Efforts
There are a number of ways that you can collect money for your team without having to constantly ask for it. One idea might be to put a donation button at the bottom of your team’s website or on other web properties that allow for the solicitation of donations. When someone visits your site, they will see instructions to make either a single donation or a recurring gift. Most payment processors allow donors to send funds via wire transfer, an ACH transfer or with a debit or credit card.
You can also post signs where tickets, concessions or merchandise is sold encouraging people to donate to the team. If you are fundraising for a school team, you may be able to put posters throughout the school letting students, teachers and others know how much you need and how to give.
Passive fundraising may be ideal because they can be run on an indefinite basis. Furthermore, once you have a website, flier or other materials ready to go, you don’t have to spend time or money soliciting funds. Typically, the other cost that you will incur is processing fees for any online donations that you receive.
Look for Guaranteed Money Games
The guaranteed money game is something that you see often at the college level. Essentially, a smaller school will travel to play a larger school in exchange for a guaranteed payout. The payout can range from $100,000 to over $1 million depending on the sport and how badly the other school wants or needs an opponent of your caliber to fill out its schedule.
Of course, if you are playing a club sport at the college level, you may not be able to generate that kind of money simply by agreeing to play an opponent. The same may be true if you are merely a club team at any level whether it be a youth, high school or college program.
Regardless of how much you actually get, it won’t take a lot of effort to simply put a team on your schedule. Therefore, you get to keep most of the money and use it to fund operations for the year. It’s also worth noting that playing a well-known opponent can increase the visibility of your own team. If your team happens to play well or win the game, it could increase fan interest, which means more funds rolling into the team’s coffers.
Hold a Meet-and-Greet
Meet-and-greet events are ideal fundraisers because you set the parameters ahead of time. This means that you have greater certainty over how much the event will cost and how much it will raise. These events can also be as simple or extravagant as you want them to be, which means that you can tailor an event to meet your fundraising needs and available resources.
For instance, you could simply have a lunch gathering at a school cafeteria with key players, coaches or others. You can even have an event featuring professional athletes, local celebrities or others who people would pay a premium price to spend time with. You can sell tickets at various tiers to further enhance your fundraising totals for an event. The lowest tier can simply grant a person the right to attend the event while the higher tiers can include autograph signings or the ability to talk to a celebrity guest.
Fundraising is something that you’ll constantly engage in while running a sports team. However, it doesn’t mean that the process of doing so has to be boring or tedious. If you are willing to be creative, you’ll find that there are many easy and fun tactics that you can use to ensure that your organization has the resources it needs to be competitive.
Be sure to also read our great article about baseball fundraising ideas.